Timeline of Major Developments in African Aviation in 2017
The year 2017 has come and is almost gone, but not without leaving some aviation memories behind not only for the entire globe but also for the African continent.
Africa in 2017 had its share of aviation occurrences - some good, some bad and some ugly. In more ways than one, 2017 was a memorable year for African aviation and African airlines with a mixture of positive and negative aviation developments.
Afritraveller’s Chidozie Uzoezie takes a look at the timeline of some of the major events and developments in African Aviation in 2017.
February 3: South Africa's hybrid regional airline, Fly Blue Crane ceased operations and entered business rescue due to financial distress.
February 9: Arik Air of Nigeria was taken over by the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) due to the airline’s debts in excess of NGN300 billion.
February 14: On a sad note, Nigeria’s Arik Air suspended international flight operations to London and Johannesburg due to depleted fleet.
April 4: RwandAir commenced flight services between Kigali and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai in India with the launch of four weekly service between the two cities.
May 26: Rwanda launched its first ever direct scheduled flight between Rwanda and Europe with the launch of service between Kigali and London Gatwick International Airport.
June 1: Mr Sebastian Mikosz, a Polish, assumed role as new Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, replacing Mbuvi Ngunze who held the post for two years.
July 14: RwandAir commenced non-stop service between Kigali and Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. The airline's brand new Airbus A330 operates this route.
August 1: RwandAir inaugurated its West African operational Hub at the Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport, Cotonou, the largest city in Benin Republic, West Africa.
September 5: Nigeria’s Medview Airlines took delivery of a Boeing 777-200ER, becoming the first Nigerian airline to operate the popular wide-body longhaul aircraft.
October 27: Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of Africa’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, making it the first airline in Africa to operate the aircraft model.
December 7: Medview Airlines of Nigeria launched flight service between Lagos and Dubai via Abuja. Before this launch, Emirates was the only airline operating this route.
December 7: The government of Senegal inaugurated its new flagship international airport, Blaise Diagne International Airport, Dakar constructed at the cost of $767 million.
December 15: Emirates resumed flights between Dubai and Abuja, Nigeria and reinstated its second daily service to Lagos. Emirate had in 2016 suspended its second daily service to Lagos and stopped flying to Abuja due irregularities in foreign exchange.
December 16: Ethiopian Airlines operated the first international all-female crew flight to Nigeria (Lagos). The Boeing 777-300ER was commanded by Captain Amsale Gualu, assisted by Senior First Officer Tigist Kibret.
December 20: Mauritania Airlines International took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8, becoming the first airline in Africa to operate the new and improved narrow-body airplane.